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i,i

Alternative & Indie - Released August 9, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
“There’s similarities and tributaries through all the Bon Iver records leading to this one and that still flow through this one. It’s an expansive sound”. This is how Justin Vernon, the driving force behind Bon Iver, defines his fourth studio album. 12 years of his life have passed, during which his project went from the wintry solitude of For Emma, Forever Ago, to the chamber-pop spring of its eponymous record, to the feverish summer glitch storm of 22, A Million. This fourth season didn’t come easy, either. The promotional tour for the aforementioned third album ended abruptly, due to Vernon’s struggle with anxiety and depression. i,i was created in that aftermath, as a synthesis of his career – a multi-layered autumn where sonic landscapes flow one into the other, and impressionistic instrumentals, glitchy samples and vocal harmonies pile on top of each other seamlessly, before being torn away to reveal the bare bones canvas lying beneath. This retrospective approach to his music is interlaced with cryptic lyrics that seem to ponder Vernon’s misanthropic tendencies: “I should've known / That I shouldn't hide/ To compromise and to covet/ All what’s inside “ he mourns on the electro-folk crescendo of Faith, undercut by growling bass and haunting background vocals. On the album closer RABi, which is a play on the words “I could rob, bye bye”, Bon Iver seems to find peace at last, in a side nod to listeners: “Sun light feels good now, don't it? And I don't have a leaving plan/ But something's gotta ease your mind/ But it's all fine, or it's all crime anyway “. It’s a cathartic finish, for a troubled artist who seems to have temporarily fought off his demons, as well as the audience – we who’ve followed him and applauded him since the beginning. © Alexis Renaudat/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 4, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Three years after My Woman, an album which saw her move even further away from her main influences (Cat Power, Hope Sandoval from Mazzy Star, Kate Bush, PJ Harvey) as she pursued her grungy indie folk (which incorporated Americana and vintage sounds) Angel Olsen has signed a more silky, shimmering and even luxurious production here. There are no commercial compromises in All Mirrors, just a clear desire to soak her music in less troubled waters… The sound is bigger, the arrangements more elaborate and the instrumentation even includes strings, again impeccably measured. Much like Annie Clark a.k.a. St Vincent, Olsen blends a powerful explosion of fury and strong self-acceptance, boosted by impressive melodies. The American is also at ease in moving from dark atmospheres to almost playful sequences. A stylistic richness that becomes even greater each time you listen to it. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 18, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Sharon Van Etten waited five years before releasing a follow up to Are We There, her 2014 album on which she brilliantly juggled between the legacies of Cat Power, Nick Cave, John Cale, Joan As Police Woman, St Vincent, Feist and Fiona Apple. It’s a record on which she was, above all, herself. She confirms this with Remind Me Tomorrow which was conceived when her schedule was overflowing between a role in the series The OA, the writing of the soundtrack for Katherine Dieckmann’s film Strange Weather, the music for comedian Tig Notaro’s show, preparing for a psychology degree, an appearance in the series Twin Peaks and the birth of her first child!Energy is at the heart of this 2019 vintage record on which John Congleton handled the the arrangements. The producer is without a doubt at the forefront of the more rhythmic sequences rather than the more accustomed ones, such as the single Comeback Kid. With less minimalist reflections and more assertive affirmations, Sharon Van Etten hasn’t lost her uniqueness along the way. And what she has added here doesn’t alter the original taste too much. Congleton knew how to find the perfect sound texture to make the singer’s gothic folk universe all the more powerful and charming. With this album one of the most talented artists of her generation continues to grow. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Soul - Released May 10, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music - Qobuzissime
What is my purpose? What will come of the legacy of those who have influenced me? And what will I leave behind? These are all the big questions that Jamila Woods asks herself going into her second album suitably named Legacy! Legacy!, a Qobuzissime album! Three years after the release of Heavn, the soul sister from Chicago brings together twelve songs all named after the artists that influenced them. Musicians, painters, writers, activists, poets, they’re all there! And the lucky few are: Betty Davis, Zora Neale Hurston, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Frida Kahlo, Eartha Kitt, Miles Davis, Muddy Waters, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Sun Ra, Octavia Butler and James Baldwin. There is nothing obvious or didactic here as the young African-American who is ever-so attached to her native Chicago never does out-and-out covers but less subtle “in the style ofs” all while retaining her own distinct style. A poet one day (she acts as artistic director for YCA, a center dedicated to young poets) and a musician the other, she is even a teacher on bank holidays! As the worthy heir of Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill, all her words are wrapped around ultra-slick grooves with a modernized nu-soul twist. When it comes to features, Jamila Woods helps her local economy by inviting along friends that, for the most part, come from the underground scene of the Windy City: the trumpetist Nico Segal, MC Saba, Nitty Scott, theMIND, Jasminfire. Chance the Rapper’s protégé has mixed intelligence and class, commitment, enjoyment and groove into 49 minutes. Perfect. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 15, 2020 | Jagjaguwar

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Beck lent him his songwriting. Sufjan Stevens covered his songs. James Blake, Bon Iver, Flume and Andrew Bird invited him onto their albums. And Solange Knowles, St. Vincent and Erykah Badu hang out with him: Moses Sumney is a powerful and fascinating magnet. The futuristic soulman’s aura was confirmed in 2017 on his debut album Aromanticism, an impeccable work of lustful, intelligent R&B carried by a gospel-soaked voice and a strong yet troubled personality. Underscoring the duality of his daily life and his struggles with schizophrenia, Moses Sumney sees double with Græ. He has created this ambitious second album (released in two parts, three months apart) by dipping his brush into a wide-ranging palette: soul, pop, jazz, rock, R&B, folk. Even the title - neither black nor white - amplifies the feeling of being in-between...Now based in Asheville, North Carolina, the Californian (who lived in Accra, Ghana between the ages of 10 and 16) articulates ideas in two-headed sounds. His sexuality as his origins, his virility as his fragility, his falsetto as his hoarse voice, luxury as purity, acoustic guitar as synths, it’s all there. The first part is lyrical, grandiloquent and warm, bordering on baroque soul. The second is more peaceful and weightless. He flits from one thing to another with such ease that it’s never confusing or disorientating. As Sumney said in an interview, pop culture has made the patriarchy waver to the point that we forget masculinity is not necessarily a bad thing: Græ proves it in a whirlwind of eclecticism where his voice serves as a solid common thread. Like on Gagarin, where he revisits From Gagarins Point of View by E.S.T., the late Swedish jazz pianist Esbjörn Svensson’s trio. Or when he invites Jill Scott to sing (recite) the intro to jill/jack. James Blake and Daniel Lopatin a.k.a. Oneohtrix Point Never appear in this vast symphony, one so rich that you hear something new each time you listen. It would be too simplistic to consider Græ the album of Prince 2.0, since he feeds on a thousand sounds. In this grey area, Moses Sumney already has his own crown. And his reign has only just begun... © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 30, 2016 | Jagjaguwar

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
The master of fuzzy folk and melancholy country, Justin Vernon showed his genius when For Emma, Forever Ago, his first album produced under the Bon Iver moniker, came out in 2008. This ghostly, entirely mad and haunting folk masterpiece was dreamt up after he isolated himself in the depths of winter for three months in a Wisconsin cabin! The harmonic cathedrals, the mystery of the organ possessed by true grace: everything was miraculous. But Vernon quickly shook off his folk convictions to try out a range of electronic experiences. These changes were apparent on Bon Iver’s second album, simply called Bon Iver, which contained nods to minimalists Steve Reich and Philip Glass and tracks on which the intriguing bearded artist thought himself more a Brian Eno than a Brian Wilson... Five years after this eponymous record, and having worked through some surprising and fascinating collaborations (James Blake, Kanye West, Travis Scott and St Vincent), the updated Mr Bon Iver is re-emerging with 22, A Million. It is this  third album which finally brings together all his experience right from the start. And whether the result is a folktronica carbon copy or not, Justin Vernon succeeds more than ever in merging the worlds of folk and electronic music without either of the two sides managing to tug too hard in their own direction. As for the singing, his falsetto is still just as affecting even when manipulated and tinkered with. And when he uses openly abrasive sounding tones and elements more from soul, the result is impressively dreamy. Like a melancholy, meditative symphony at the heart of an immense cathedral. To add to this fascinating mystery, Justin Vernon has enjoyed giving his ten new compositions unpronounceable (or almost unpronounceable) titles. An experience unlike any other. © MD/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 27, 2020 | Jagjaguwar

Between his 2008 masterpiece, the global hit For Emma, Forever Ago, and 2011's eponymous Bon Iver, Justin Vernon was preparing to shed his old skin. Specifically, this 2009 transition EP, dubbed Blood Bank featuring bonus tracks from For Emma, Forever Ago (the opening Blood Bank and the very folksy Beach Baby ) as well as unexpected interludes of minimalist and repetitive music ( Babys with its whiff of the second coming of Philip Glass and Steve Reich). As for Wood, the fourth track that closes the EP, its use of autotune intrigued not only his long-time fans, but also a certain Kanye West who would sample it on Lost in the World on his album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy... To mark 10 years since its release, Blood Bank has been released in a deluxe edition with bonus, live, versions of the four tracks, recorded in Stockholm, Dallas, London and Paris. Vernon's thoroughly hallucinated and hallucinating spectral folk vignettes become small symphonies of cosmic and new age folk. Intense. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 2, 2016 | Jagjaguwar

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 22, 2017 | Jagjaguwar

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
The singular talents of Moses Sumney were already apparent in a couple of early EPs and guest spots with Solange and Sufjan Stevens, but his stellar debut album, Aromanticism, still comes as a slow-motion shock. First of all there is his concept of "aromantic," defined by Sumney as someone incapable of experiencing romantic love, coupled with the struggle to fit into a world where love is almost an imposition and its negation an aberration. Unsurprisingly for an era so obsessed with body politics, most of the commentary surrounding this critically acclaimed album tended to focus on Sumney's manifesto, conveniently ignoring that many before Sumney have been suspicious about the commodification of romance, for instance political art rock bands such as Gang of Four or the whole straight-edge hardcore movement. What is different here, and the main reason Aromanticism is such a beguiling record, is the tension between content and form. While the bands mentioned above took pains to create music as unromantic as possible, Sumney's is explicitly sensual, his yearning for detachment as convincing as Al Green's or Maxwell's longing for the polar opposite. Juxtaposition lies at the very fabric of these tracks, which contrast spacious, spectral electronic textures against lush organic sounds such as harp, guitar, and strings. Furthermore, while most of the record keeps to a chill downtempo, climax and release occur at key moments in the shape of sudden bursts of acceleration and volume, most noticeably on the coda to the album's centerpiece, "Lonely World." As meticulously impressive as the arrangements are, everything takes a back seat to Sumney's heavenly falsetto surrounded by a swirling spiral of his own background vocals. This is no small weapon: not since Antony has a voice evoked such wonder. The results are startling and difficult to categorize (groove ambient music? art soul?), and nonetheless uniformly exceptional. Aromanticism may have developed from a peculiar and attention-grabbing concept, but it ultimately triumphs on account of the utterly original and exquisite craft of its productions and performances. The sterling list of collaborators includes fellow sonic adventurers such as Thundercat, Paris Strother (King), Matt Otto (Majical Cloudz), Ian Chang (Son Lux), and Nicole Miglis (Hundred Waters). © Mariano Prunes /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 20, 2009 | Jagjaguwar

Bon Iver's debut album made a huge splash in 2008, receiving both critical acclaim and near-mainstream popularity as the record fanned out over indie rockers, alt-folk fans, and lovers of quietly emotional and frequently inspiring songs sung by a dude with the voice of an angel. All the adulation was well deserved, because For Emma, Forever Ago is the kind of record that manages to capture a musician's soul and transmit it in a way that truly connects with a large array of listeners. It's an impressive achievement and one that holds up over many listens. Released in 2009, the Blood Bank EP is both a pause for breath for Justin Vernon and a reminder why so many people fell so deeply in love with the record and the sound he created. Recorded over a couple years and in various locations, the EP sounds like outtakes from Emma, but not in a bad way. "Blood Bank," with its subtly propulsive drums and idiosyncratic lyrics, would have been one of the album's best moments. The same goes for the more experimental but still beautiful "Babys," which features both some gently jarring piano and Vernon's soothing, multi-tracked falsetto. The only stretch Vernon makes here is on the closing "Woods" -- in a somewhat bold move, he embraces Auto-Tune and warps his vocals into almost unrecognizable shapes. Starting off as a lone voice, he begins to harmonize with himself and then adds layers of warbling vocals until the song builds to a frenzied, backwoods R&B symphony of weirdness. It's a move that could send lots of people into fits of disbelief but strangely enough, it works -- especially over headphones, where the vocals can envelope you completely. It's probably a direction Vernon won't follow, but it's an interesting experiment that keeps the record from sounding like outtakes (worthy outtakes, but outtakes all the same) from For Emma, Forever Ago. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 27, 2020 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 10, 2020 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 27, 2014 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 18, 2014 | Jagjaguwar

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 24, 2020 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 19, 2008 | Jagjaguwar

Bon Iver is the work of Justin Vernon. He isolated himself in a remote cabin in Wisconsin for almost four months, writing, and recording the songs on For Emma, Forever Ago, his haunting debut album. A few parts (horns, drums, and backing vocals) were added in a North Carolina studio, but for the majority of the time it's just Vernon, his utterly disarming voice, and his enchanting songs. The voice is the first thing you notice. Vernon's falsetto soars like a hawk and when he adds harmonies and massed backing vocals, it can truly be breathtaking. "The Wolves (Acts I & II)" truly shows what Vernon can do as he croons, swoops, and cajoles his way through an erratic and enchanting melody like Marvin Gaye after a couple trips to the backyard still. "Skinny Love" shows more of his range as he climbs down from the heights of falsetto and shouts out the angry and heartachey words quite convincingly. Framing his voice are suitably subdued arrangements built around acoustic guitars and filled out with subtle electric guitars, the occasional light drums, and slide guitar. Vernon has a steady grasp of dynamics too; the ebb and flow of "Creature Fear" is powerfully dramatic and when the chorus hits it's hard not to be swept away by the flood of tattered emotion. Almost every song has a moment where the emotion peaks and hearts begin to weaken and bend: the beauty of that voice is what pulls you through every time. For Emma captures the sound of broken and quiet isolation, wraps it in a beautiful package, and delivers it to your door with a beating, bruised heart. It's quite an achievement for a debut and the promise of greatness in the future is high. Oh, and because you have to mention it, Iron & Wine. Also, Little Wings. Most of all, though, Bon Iver. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 17, 2020 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 27, 2017 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 13, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 21, 2011 | Jagjaguwar